Last weekend we kicked off our Term 4 sermon series, ‘Faith in a Secular World: Daniel 1–6’. I hope and pray it was instructive and inspiring for you to learn from Daniel’s example about how we can live and thrive in a secular world like ours. I know personally it was good for my heart, soul and mind to be reminded of the truth that in spite of present appearances, God is in control.
And, we see this reassuring truth not only in the book of Daniel but throughout the entire Bible. One example is in Isaiah 41:10 where God says: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Or in Luke 12:32 where Jesus says: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
As I reflected on these verses this week I was reminded that the most repeated command in the Bible is “Do not fear.” Over two hundred times God commands us to not be afraid! That is more often than we’re told to forgive, to be humble, or any other command. It should be obvious, then, that no matter what is happening around us or to us, God wants us to wholeheartedly trust Him.
Indeed, as Scott Sauls, author of Jesus Outside the Lines, suggests: “Christians in particular should not fear because the final chapter of the Story in which we live has already been written. We are told in Revelation of a New Heaven and a New Earth where the old, hostile, chaotic, divided world in which we now live will pass away, and everything will be made new. The reign of Jesus will be fully and finally established, “and the government shall be upon his shoulder…of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end.” Under his reign, “there will be no more death, mourning, crying or pain,” no suffering or sorrow or disharmony or division, because God will have set his world right again (Isaiah 9:6-7; Revelation 21:1-8). Lambs will be at peace with lions, snakes with scorpions, and liberals with conservatives. All nations and cultures and colors will live as one, and power—all power—will be used only to love and to serve and never to coerce, subdue, control, shame, punish or destroy.”
Now that is a glorious future we can fix our eyes and our hopes upon, and one that can help us to fight fear and to trust in God in the midst of our secular world.
Some resources for understanding cultural issues
Late last year we worked our way through the book of Proverbs in a sermon series titled: ‘Ancient Wisdom for a Modern World’. To go along with the sermon series we produced a number of blog posts exploring pertinent issues in our lives and culture titled ‘Wisdom for Life’. I’d like to share those blogs with you once again in the hope that they may serve you in understanding and being able to respond intelligently and in a Christ-like way to some of the issues we face in our secular culture.
(All of the blogs are available at www.bpcc.com.au)